Julia Lane awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

New Zealand produces many innovative minds. In economics, we often think of innovation in terms of a revolutionary theoretical insight or the creation of a new empirical test. But – just as important as these innovations – are innovations in producing the data that we require to subject our theories to scientific test. This year’s New Zealand Association of Economists Distinguished Fellow has contributed to a revolution in the way that empirical work is conducted in the United States, New Zealand and globally.

Professor Julia Lane has been a pioneer in micro-data analysis. From the late 1990s onwards, Julia worked with John Abowd and others to enable the use of large administrative unit record micro-data for economic research purposes. Julia was not only an early user of micro-data, she also pioneered the protocols for its use by other researchers. This is evidenced by her co-authored publications between 1999 and 2004 of a range of influential books on the topic and by an AER paper: ‘Integrated Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data for the United States.’ (Abowd, Haltiwanger, & Lane, 2004) She published important papers in the AER (Haltiwanger, Lane, & Spletzer, 1999) and the Journal of Labor Economics (Burgess, Lane, & Stevens, 2000) at the turn of the millennium using the new micro-data to demonstrate the heterogeneity of productivity outcomes and the nature of worker flows across firms.

In addition to these important contributions to the profession, Julia is a leading international researcher on the impacts of science and innovation policy. She holds the post of Provostial Fellow for Innovation Analytics at New York University (NYU), where she also holds the positions of Professor, Wagner School of Public Policy, and Professor at the Center for Urban Science and Policy. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the U.S. Census Bureau and at the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. From 2008 to 2012, Julia was program director for the Science of Science and Innovation Policy Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She led the NSF’s STAR METRICS program,1 which was led by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation under the auspices of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The programme was designed to document the outcomes of science investments to the public. As with her work using and enabling micro-data, Julia’s work in the ‘science of science’ field has been heavily cited including her publications in Nature (Lane, 2010) and Science (Lane & Bertuzzi, 2011).

Julia’s other posts have included: Senior Managing Economist for the American Institutes for Research (AIR) International Development Program; Senior Vice President and Director, Economics Department at NORC/University of Chicago; Director of the Employment Dynamics Program at the Urban Institute; Full Professor at American University; Consultant for the World Bank; and Associate Professor of Economics at University of Louisville.

Julia has published over 70 articles in leading journals, and has authored three and edited seven books. She is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Statistical Institute and is the recipient of the Warren E. Milller, the Julius Shiskin, and the Roger Herriot awards. She co-chaired the Science of Science Policy Interagency Group for the White House National Science and Technology Council, was a Member of the Founding Committee for the International Data Forum and has edited special issues of a range of well-known journals. In addition, she has received many other fellowships and awards across multiple continents.

While having been based in the U.S.A. since the early 1980s – following her initial BA in Economics and Japanese at Massey University – Julia has retained research and policy links with New Zealand. She was the guest co-editor of the New Zealand Economic Papers special issue on micro-data use in June 2002 and has also acted as a referee for NZEP. She has received grants from the NZ Department of Labour for micro-data work resulting in the 2002 NZ conference on Data Integration and Linked Employer-Employee Data. Julia was a keynote speaker to the New Zealand Association of Economists conference in 2002 and has been a keynote speaker at several other New Zealand conferences. She has held visiting positions at Victoria University of Wellington and at the Department of Labour.

Professor Julia Lane’s outstanding contributions across multiple fields amply demonstrate that she has the credentials required for the award of Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.


1 STAR-METRICS: Science and Technology in America’s Reinvestment – Measuring the Effects of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science.


  • Abowd, J. J., Haltiwanger, J., & Lane, J. (2004). Integrated longitudinal employer-employee data for the United States. American Economic Review, 94(2), 224229. doi: 10.1257/0002828041301812 
  • Burgess, S., Lane, J., & Stevens, D. (2000). Job flows, worker flows, and churning. Journal of Labor Economics, 18(3), 473502. doi: 10.1086/209967
  • Haltiwanger, J. C., Lane, J., & Spletzer, J. (1999). Productivity differences across employers: The roles of employer size, age, and human capital. American Economic Review, 89(2), 9498. doi: 10.1257/aer.89.2.94 
  • Lane, J. (2010). Let’s make science metrics more scientific. Nature, 464(7288), 488489. doi: 10.1038/464488a
  • Lane, J., & Bertuzzi, S. (2011). Measuring the results of science investments. Science, 331(6018), 678680. doi: 10.1126/science.1201865